Tag Archives: Cancer

Donate Your Hair To Children With Cancer

22 Mar


If you have long hair like mine was, and decide to cut it, you can send it off to a charity in the UK called Little Princess.  They make wigs for children who have lost their hair through cancer.  A quick Google search found similar charities in other countries.  Please think about doing it if you’re going short; you need a minimum of 7″/17cm and all it costs is a padded envelope and postage.

My hair was long but thin, so my plait was pretty feeble; but every little helps.

When the Hub posted it off, the clerk asked if there was anything valuable in the packet.  The Hub explained what was in it and she winked and said, Aw, that’s nice.  Are you going to do the same with your beard?

I think he should; I heard their office needs re-wiring.


Well That’s A Relief; Now What?

6 Oct
Peripheral blood film of a patient with iron d...

Image via Wikipedia


Good news, sort of: there is no sign of cancer in the Hub (though they didn’t look at his soul; I don’t think they have a camera for that).  They biopsied a polyp but they tell us that’s routine.  However, if no news is good news, it’s still no news; there’s no explanation yet for the Hub’s anaemia.  He will be called back for a discussion at some point and he just has to keep taking the iron tablets. 

It was a long day yesterday.  The Hub was to be given a sedative and had to be accompanied home afterwards; I don’t drive so we had to get a taxi to the hospital: two buses and a fair bit of walking are two buses and a fair bit of walking too much for the Hub at the moment.  He’s not breathing well – a combination of the anaemia and a chest infection; his pallor gives the word ‘grey’ a bad name; he is in more pain than usual because he had to come off the anti-inflammatories; and he has the ongoing CFS/ME, of course.  He is one sorry little puppy.  He’s so unwell, we haven’t had an argument in days; never thought there’d be a day when I missed his pig-headed shouty view of the world; but I do. 


Still, enough about him.  I had a horrible day too, but nobody wipes my brow.  While I waited for him, I had to read two books and the paper, drink tea, eat crisps and chocolate and sit on a chair deemed too cruel for use by the Spanish Inquisition.  That was a long three-and-a-half-hours.  Well, it would have been, if I hadn’t had two books, the paper and lots of snacks to keep me going.  Why don’t hospitals add a library or a tv room or something for family & friends?  Even a comfortable chair would help.  But no, it’s all spend the money on the patients; look after the patients; make the patients comfortable while they wait two hours for their procedure. 

We arrived twenty minutes early, so that bit was our fault.  They took him in early and made him wait over two hours, so that was their fault.  They prodded and questioned before the Big Probe and gave him paper boxers to wear under a girly gown.  You check in your dignity along with your valuables when you go into hospital; luckily for the Hub, he’s used to that, appearing in my blog every day.  He said they pumped him full of air and he lay in a ward at some point, having a fart-off with the other testees.  He swears he did one four minutes-long.  At last I have competition!  


Pardon my vulgarity; I was not brought up that way, as Rizzo would say that Sandra Dee would say.  Of Irish Catholic descent, I come from what my mother called the capital of Ireland, Liverpool; and we are a refined lot.  We always say ‘please’ when we ask for your wallet and jewellery; and we never steal your tyres without resting your car on even piles of bricks.   


It must be the Mancunian rubbing off on me after all these years, though I don’t think it does take years: Tarik the taxi driver, who told us he hasn’t been here that long, had a fund of horror stories to share about his life in Levenshulme; most of which seemed to involve being on his break and eating pizzas and kebabs while he watched young men knock out their drug addict girlfriends and youths insult grannies and generally behave in an anti-social but all-too Mancunian manner. 

The taxi driver going home was Stockport-born and bred, but he talked just as much.  So much, in fact, that he forgot to turn on his meter until we were halfway home, and had to ask us how much he should charge.  I gave him a decent tip.  I wouldn’t have normally, what with being Scouse and knowing the value of a penny; but my husband had just been told he was cancer-free and I was in the mood to celebrate.  Now, if I can just rile the Hub so he yells at me, we’ll all be happy. 


The prompt for this week’s We Write Poems is What’s for dinner?  I haven’t been in the mood to write poetry this week, so I dug up some old ones on the same theme. 

A Recipe For Torture 


Too many cooks
Not enough broth

Main Course: 

Four planes
Dead thousands
One paralysed nation

Stir until hatred reaches a peak. 


One concrete cell
One bucket of water
Two bare feet
A dash of electricity

Throw together and watch carefully
as your suspect surges the walls.
Look on in satisfaction.
Extract information.
Discard waste.

Please note: No guarantees can be given that
following this recipe will produce the desired results.



Recipe for Contentment  

Ingredients: food,
good film, children home, husband,
dog.  Mix well.  Relax.


How To Bake A Cake  

With care and good scales
or you’ll fail.
You’ll burn it;
flop it; scrape
it off the
plate and pop
it in the bin,
   to your children’s accompanying wails.


The Hub Says Sometimes I Can Take Recycling Too Far

25 Aug
Blood Donor Centre

I’d like to be sent off in a cardboard box.  A great big shoe box – white, so that people can scrawl messages on it: Best mother EVER; Can’t believe you were never recognised as the greatest writer who ever lived; Nagging will never feel the same again; We love you so much we can’t live without you; Won’t miss your cooking.  That sort of thing.  I’d like it to be colourful and messy and then the Hub should take photos of it so the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and their grandchildren (I plan on being around for a while yet) can take a bit of me home and know how much I was loved and admired and respected.   Um, better make it a real shoe box….

I mention this because I just read Novaheart’s blog about a friend’s send-off.  A Harley Davidson and big tvs – that’s what I call a celebration.  Like Novaheart’s friend, I also want to donate my body to science: it’s just a shell; I won’t need it.  The Hub hates the idea; he says the boys need something to bury.  I say well, for starters, you have to burn me because I don’t want to take up valuable floor space for one thing and I don’t want to be neglected floor space as they rightly get on with their lives for another.  However, he is adamant that I’m not going to be someone’s boring lecture (been that all my life as far as my kids are concerned), and he’ll be the one organising things (assuming he isn’t doing time for needing the organising in the first place) so I don’t have much choice. 

To be fair to him (ouch; that hurt), I don’t feel as strongly about it as he does, so I’m letting him have that one.  But they do have to whip out my bits and re-use them: that’s not negotiable.  I’ve been a kidney donor since I was eighteen – not an actual donor; on the list, I mean.  I’m a registered organ donor, a blood donor, part of a cancer study, and on the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register.  I mention all this not to say how wonderful I am (though I am), but to direct you to read my post Save A Life: Spit In A Cup if you haven’t already, and to remind you to do something about it if you have and are eligible. 

People are dying, folks, for want of things you don’t/won’t need or can reasonably spare. 

  • Giving blood takes an hour (including travel) every four months, and you get to eat a biscuit without feeling guilty about breaking your diet.
  • The cancer study involves one blood sample every five years and a questionnaire.
  • There are organ donation forms all over the place and you can do it online these days; it doesn’t take long.
  • Joining the bone marrow register means just spitting: how difficult is that?  Okay, at some point you might have to have a needle in your bum, but isn’t it worth it to save a life?

Despite my passion for donating bodily fluids to complete strangers, I’m not in favour of an opt-out clause i.e. everybody’s a donor unless they tell the government they don’t want to be.  I prefer nagging (my future coffin refers).  So do something amazing today: listen to me.




Outing the In-laws

13 Nov
Mum & Dad In-law

The Loveables

I was reading a blog about other people’s in-laws this morning, and that got me thinking about mine.  They were wonderful people, and I’m not just saying that because they’re dead.  They treated me like a daughter and, best of all, they never took sides when the Hub and I argued; which we did a lot of in our younger days.   They never took sides but, when necessary,  they did scold the Hub for not treating me right (see earlier post about me and diets).  No wonder I liked them.

My first meeting with Mam C was not auspicious: the Hub and I had only been together a short while; I’m not sure that we were even dating at that point.  It was four in a South African afternoon; Mam was wearing a kaftan and carrying a large ball of cotton wool on her shoulder, which turned out to be Lady, their Maltese.  Mam’s very first words to me came with a soppy look: ‘This is my baby.’  I was eighteen and befuddled.  Now, of course, I’m 46 with a cotton wool ball of my own, and just as soppy as dear old Mam C.

Mam C had a real zest for life.  Born with a serious heart condition, she was not expected to live beyond the age of six.  Forbidden to dance, ride bikes or roller skate, she did all three.  Totally and utterly banned from ever having children, she had six.

I don’t remember my first meeting with Dad C.  He was a quiet man who never spoke unless he had something sensible to say.  I had enormous respect for his opinion.   I never saw him lose his temper in the seventeen years I knew him, although he did once get slightly irritated with the Hub (see earlier post about me and diets).  Once the Hub and I were serious, I stayed over at their house every weekend.  Dad C and I would often leave Mam C and the Hub at home and go off to the café on Saturday afternoons to choose a couple of pirate videos,* snacks and sweets to tide us all over to Sunday night.  South Africa closed down at one p.m. Saturday in the 1980s: no supermarkets, petrol stations, nothing.  Just the cafés, a sort of extended corner shop that didn’t sell hot drinks or have tables to sit at.   No wonder I spent 1982 in a daze.

They had generous hearts and no money.  In their retirement, their greatest pleasure (apart from visits from their large extended family) was spending Sunday mornings at car boot sales.**  Every one of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren received wonderful and thoughtful Christmas and birthday presents, despite a budget of just £5 each per week.  I think it was Little Old Lady Syndrome: hardened boot salers would be unable to resist a sweet old lady or dear old gent haggling for a £1 reduction from £3 to £2 on a spaceship or a makeup set that cost £50 each in the shops.

They were married for 52 years, and one of those couples who were blissfully happy.  Normally, that would be irritating to the rest of us grumpy married or co-habiting folk, but they were such lovely people that it simply aroused the ‘aahh’ factor.  Dad C, a lifelong but not prolific smoker, died in 1999 of cancer.  Mum C died a year and eight days later, on the anniversary of his funeral.  They said she died of heart failure but we all knew it was really a broken heart. 

I still miss them.  I hope my boys find in-laws as wonderful as mine, but I suspect they were a one-off. 


*I say pirate videos, but they were actually home recordings of British TV sent to the shop’s owners by members of their family; the Equity ban on broadcasting British programmes still being in force in South Africa at that time.

**For a picture of that Great British Institution, the Car Boot Sale, visit this blog: http://sorrydadenglandisweird.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/best-of-the-worst-some-awful-must-do-british-experiences/

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